“I had this horrific image”: James Cameron was Forced to Work All Night for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $378 Million Movie in Fear of Not Meeting the Intended Deadline

James Cameron met those tight deadlines by working all night for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 action comedy film!

“I had this horrific image”: James Cameron was Forced to Work All Night for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $378 Million Movie in Fear of Not Meeting the Intended Deadline

SUMMARY

  • James Cameron, renowned for his astounding cinematic experiences, is best known for his groundbreaking work on The Terminator series and blockbuster hits like Titanic and Avatar.
  • Yet this experienced filmmaker also found himself facing a daunting challenge while filming True Lies.
  • He worked the entire night out of fear that he would fail to meet the deadline for True Lies, distributed by 20th Century Fox.
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There is no escaping the occasional tight deadline and last-minute scares, even in the film industry. A prime example of this is the legendary director James Cameron’s experience while working on the action-packed film True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Undoubtedly, working on Cameron’s films sounds like an experience, and it could end up being just as memorable as the films themselves. Famous for his mastery of storytelling and magnificent cinematic experiences, the filmmaker is known for his work on blockbuster hits like Titanic and Avatar as well as ground-breaking movies like The Terminator series. Yet this experienced filmmaker also found himself facing a daunting challenge while filming True Lies.

The director, 69, worked the entire night out of fear that he would miss the deadline for his 141-minute film, True Lies, distributed by 20th Century Fox.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron's True Lies
Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron’s True Lies

Also Read: Avatar 4 Release Date And Script Details: James Cameron Gives An Exciting New Detail About Upcoming Avatar Sequels

True Lies: James Cameron Was Daunted by Fear of Missing the Intended Deadline

Sometimes compromises lead to a successful outcome. During James Cameron‘s production of True Lies, a complex sequence was planned to be located in the snow-capped mountains. Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up skiing a helicopter as it skidded down a mountain in the movie’s pivotal scene. 

In a recent interview, Cameron revealed to Variety that they spent a night filming in the mountains. Since they were already running “behind schedule”, the director had this horrifying idea that they would be at that snowy location for three weeks. In his words: 

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“We shot one night in the mountains. I had this horrific image that we were going to be there for three weeks. We were already behind schedule. At that point, I knew we just wouldn’t hit our release date if we stayed there. I got the crew together in the hotel the next morning. I said, ‘We’re going to finish the scene tonight. The helicopter’s out, this is out, that’s out. He shoots two guys, jumps in the van, they drive away.’ We finished it in one night.”

Jamie Lee Curtis in James Cameron's True Lies
Jamie Lee Curtis in James Cameron’s True Lies

They ultimately completed the scene in “one night”. It is safe to say that Cameron loves giving his all when filming his movies, and True Lies, which was made on a budget of an estimated $120 million, earned a whopping $378.9 million.

Also Read: Keanu Reeves’ John Wick and James Cameron’s Avatar 2 Fail to Beat the Barbenheimer Mania

Why Has Not True Lies 2 Been Released Yet?

A sequel’s most common reason for being shelved is a poor box office performance for the first movie. However, that is not the reason for the $378.9 million film True Lies. In 2011, Schwarzenegger told Entertainment Weekly;

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“The idea of a ‘True Lies’ sequel has been around since the early 2000s. But then 9/11 happened, and we didn’t do it because it had to do with a terrorist attack.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Arnold in a still from True Lies (1994)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Arnold in a still from True Lies (1994)

When Schwarzenegger declared that production on True Lies 2 was ready to go in 2002, it seemed like the film was almost ready for release. Later, Cinema Confidential was informed by the actor:

“We’ll shoot it next year. We have a good script. There does need to be some changes because it deals with some terrorists act of some sort. But it’s pretty much done.”

That filming, of course, never took place. In 2005, Tom Arnold, who co-starred with Schwarzenegger, told Star Mag (via MovieWeb) that production was scheduled to resume but the latter’s availability was then a major concern:

“We’re doing it. Definitely doing it. I’m revved. Unlike ‘Terminator,’ which I think they’re doing without Arnold, [James Cameron is] prepared to wait for the big guy. So am I. I’ve been waiting for 10 years now — I’m sure I can hang on a few more months.”

Of course, the project was again delayed when Schwarzenegger was re-elected the following year. However,  Arnold revealed in a 2010 radio interview with KISW 99.9 FM Seattle that a script for True Lies 2 was at last ready to go again, and he later confirmed to Collider that the Austrian Oak was back.

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However, since the late 1990s, Cameron has started concentrating on Avatar and its sequels, so all those speculated start dates have come and gone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies

We hope the second film will see the light of day anytime soon. Well, for the unversed, critics gave True Lies mostly favorable reviews, and it went on to earn $378 million at the box office worldwide, ranking as the third-highest-grossing movie of 1994. 

Stream True Lies on Peacock.

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Also Read: James Cameron’s Brilliant Strategy Saved Titanic From Falling Prey To a VFX-Induced Monstrosity

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1381

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1300 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.